Road safety

Road safety is everybody's responsibility. We work closely with Transport for NSW and NSW Police to deliver local road safety behavioural programs to improve safety on our roads.

We can all contribute to the safety of our community by using low-risk driving techniques; keeping an eye out for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists; and obeying the road rules. For State road safety campaigns that we are involved in, head to Transport for NSW’s Centre for Road Safety.

Click on the following local road safety initiatives to find out more:

Building on the popular caravan towing workshops held in Raymond Terrace in March 2023, Council was able to secure funding from Transport for NSW to hold a second round of informative workshops. These were held in Medowie on Saturday 9 March 2024.

It is the driver/owner’s responsibility when it comes to ensuring a vehicle and caravan combination is legally compliant. The way you load your caravan can also impact stability when driving. Know the rules and have your set up weighed to safeguard your family and others on the road.

Some aspects you should look into include: weight limits for your car and caravan, tow ball weight, combined mass, mirror usage, signage and number plate placement, brake controllers and speed limits for towing. All these things impact safety and your insurance.

When towing, you should also consider: your positioning within the lane, doing routine maintenance checks and making sure to create a safe work zone for yourself in the event of a flat tyre or breakdown. As a caravan, you are not permitted to park in a truck rest area as these are designated for truck use only.

Here are some helpful links to find out more:

© Copyright State of New South Wales (Transport for NSW)

If you’re drinking – don’t drive. Always have a Plan B.

Choose safe transport options to get home safely. There are various courtesy buses operating across our region by members of the Port Stephens Liquor Accord.

Head to to find venues in Port Stephens that offer a courtesy bus, their times of operation, locations of pick up/drop off and contact details for you to book your seat.

Council also partners with the Port Stephens Liquor Accord to use ‘Plan B’ messaging and encourage drivers to make safe choices when getting home after drinking. Follow Terry Godmother’s advice.

You don’t have to be drunk to be affected by alcohol. The effects of alcohol are wide ranging and impossible to avoid. These include:

  • Slowed brain function
  • Reduced ability to make decisions or react quickly
  • Elevated confidence, leading to greater risk taking
  • Reduced balance and coordination
  • Increased drowsiness, making it easier to fall asleep at the wheel.

Taking illegal drugs before driving puts you at greater risk of a crash. Transport for NSW’s Centre for Road Safety crash data shows that the presence of illegal drugs is involved in around the same number of fatal crashes as illegal levels of alcohol. Learn more about the effects and the penalties of drug driving here.

Teaching a learner driver image

As young people approach driving age, it is important for their parent/guardian to be aware of the requirements of the 120 hours of supervised driving. P-plate drivers are involved in more crashes than any other driving group (including learner drivers). Parents and supervisors play a key role in guiding and promoting safe driving habits.

In partnership with Transport for NSW, Port Stephens Council holds workshops which offer practical advice and information to parents/guardians and supervising drivers on how to help learner drivers become safer drivers. The workshop includes information about:

  • The Graduated Licensing Scheme and the current laws of L and P licence holders
  • Completing the Learner driver log book or app
  • The benefits of supervised on-road driving experience
  • Tips and practical advice for supervising learner drivers
  • Issues facing young drivers
  • The Safer Drivers Course

Our workshops

Workshops can be scheduled by demand. Please register your interest by contacting Council’s Road Safety & Traffic Officer on 4988 0527.

Council partners with the Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation to promote pedestrian safety along the Nelson Bay foreshore during the busy Christmas holiday period. Colourful signage pops up as a reminder to drivers to slow down in recognition of the increased foot traffic in the region. The campaign also urges families to be extra vigilant when supervising children near the roadside and to hold hands when crossing the road.

Holiday time image

Port Stephens Library has a copy of Little Blue Dinosaur Foundation Founder Michelle McLaughlin’s story “Tom’s Holiday”. It provides talking point for families and contains safety tips and reminders for parents and children about why it’s important to hold hands by the roadside.

Tom's Holiday snip

Tips for Shared Pathways

Care should be taken in areas of high pedestrian activity due to the variety of users on shared pathways.

Here are some tips for path users:

  • Cyclists and mobility scooters should slow down to walking speed and warn pedestrians of their approach by ringing a bell or calling out 'coming through'.
  • Keep to the left on the path, this allows others to safely pass you if they wish.
  • If you wish to stop, move off the path to the left so you don't obstruct other path users.
  • If you are walking with your dog, please keep it on a short lead when passing by others.
  • Make eye contact with a driver before stepping off the kerb. Don’t assume a driver has seen you.
  • Use pedestrian crossings wherever possible.
  • Children under the age of 10 years should be well supervised by an adult even on quiet back streets and should be taught to keep to the left.
  • By law, all cyclists, regardless of age, must wear an Australian standards approved bicycle helmet whenever they ride.

Council has engaged ‘Survive the Ride’ to facilitate a free workshop on Saturday 25 May 2024 in Kurri Kurri for new and experienced motorcyclists and those who may be returning to riding after a break.

The workshop aims to reduce motorcyclist risk by updating rider technical skills and decision making for common challenges, refreshing safe riding techniques, and reviewing crash scene management.

Register for the workshop here.

Council has been successful in obtaining funding for this community safety workshop through the Local Government Road Safety Program.

Motorcycling the Hunter

The Hunter Region is home to some of the most popular motorcycling routes in the State. Motorcycling the Hunter is a joint project between neighbouring Councils in the region and aims to lessen motorcycle crashes on recreational routes.

The “Motorcycling the Hunter” booklet has been developed to showcase some of the Hunter’s best motorcycling routes and increase safety knowledge for riders.

Download the latest interactive Motorcycling the Hunter booklet (PDF 12.6MB).

MTH Booklet

Spot Joe Rider

Port Stephens Council ran its third and most successful ‘Joe Rider’ motorcycle awareness road safety campaign from 9-13 October 2023. It coincided with Motorcycle Awareness Month in a joint initiative between Cessnock, Maitland, MidCoast, MidWestern and Port Macquarie-Hastings Councils.

Spot Joe Rider

Crashes involving motorcycles account for nearly 10% of total crash numbers in Port Stephens. The campaign’s aim is to encourage road users to look out for motorcyclists and reduce the incidence of SMIDSY (Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You) crashes.

The Joe Rider campaign sees volunteer motorcyclists riding around wearing an “I am Joe Rider” branded yellow high visibility vest. The public ‘spot’ Joe Rider during the campaign week and enter the competition for monetary prizes.

Congratulations to the 2023 winners!
  • $50 Daily Prizes – Phil, Anthea, Joy, Noel and Brett
  • $250 Grand Prize – Liz (pictured below)

Thank you to the 2023 volunteers riding as ‘Joe’:

Peter, Jola, Chris, Tony, Troy and Paul

Please look for motorcyclists on the road, particularly at roundabouts, intersections and when changing lanes, to help motorcyclists Ride to Live.

Safety Tips

How do you take a safe corner? Watch this video demonstration:

Information Links

Some helpful motorcycling related websites:

Please choose safety over convenience when it comes to movement in school zones. School zones contain enforceable time-bounded traffic and parking rules to increase pedestrian safety for school children during key drop off and pick up times.

You will find the following regulatory signs around schools. Please familiarise yourself with what each sign means and actively look for them at your child’s school.

What do these signs mean

Schools, parents and guardians can download the following information flyer about school zones:

The NSW Centre for Road Safety contains further information about safety around school zones.

Driving too fast is the biggest contributor to death and injury on NSW roads. In Port Stephens, 1 in 5 crashes involve speeding. Council supports the enforcement of speed limits in Port Stephens to reduce the likelihood of crashes and improve crash outcomes.

The faster you go, the longer it takes to stop.

© State of New South Wales (Transport for NSW) [2022]

Speed also impacts the chance of survival in a crash:Crash image

(Based on Wramborg, P 2005, ‘A new approach to a safe and sustainable road structure and street design for urban areas’, Road safety on four continents conference, 2005, Warsaw, Poland, Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI), Linkoeping, Sweden.)

With funding from Transport for NSW’s Local Government Road Safety Program, Council uses speed displays to remind drivers of their responsibility to adhere to set speed limits. They are located in carefully selected locations and moved on a rotational basis.

Council works in partnership with Port Stephens-Hunter Police Command to support state-wide enforcement operations and to provide data for targeted enforcement on local streets.

Speed limits

Speed limits are set by Transport for NSW. Remember, 50km/hr is the default speed limit in all built up areas in NSW without a speed sign. If you don’t know the limit, slow down to 50.

You may submit a request to Transport for NSW for a speed limit review here.

The Centre for Road Safety website contains information about the Speed Adviser app, the locations of speed cameras and how to nominate a location for a speed camera. See more here.

Reporting speeding or dangerous driving

NSW Police are the responsible agency for driving violations on our roads. Police rely on information from the public to make our streets safer. You are encouraged to report instances of unsafe or reckless driving and breaches of law, including speeding and hooning behavior, by calling the Police Assistance Line on 131 444.

Would you like a guest speaker? The Road Safety Officer is available to deliver a road safety presentation to older road users called “The Road Ahead”.

This presentation is aimed at Port Stephens residents approximately 65+ years of age and covers topics such as:

  • driver licensing
  • mobility, health and remaining independent
  • safer driving habits
  • motorised scooters
  • commonly misunderstood road rules

The presentation takes approximately 1.5 hrs, including a break. Please make contact with the Road Safety Officer on 4988 0527 to make an enquiry.